Microsoft is potentially considering taking Activision out of the UK in order to not have to deal with the country blocking its acquisition.
The whole Microsoft trying to acquire Activision Blizzard thing was always going to be a long process considering it was a $70 billion dollar deal, with the main hurdle being getting it approved by various regulators in numerous territories. Microsoft hit a bit of a snag in April when the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decided to block the merger, which obviously the tech giant wasn’t happy about. Now, according to a new report from Bloomberg, it seems that Microsoft is considering some pretty extreme options to get the deal though, including outright pulling Activision from the UK (paywall, thanks VGC).
According to the report, Microsoft president Brad Smith will be meeting with UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt next week to express disappointment at the CMA’s decision to block the deal. Microsoft did also confirm that Smith will come to London, where he’s currently planned to deliver a talk about “potential of AI and the need for thoughtful regulation of it.” A private talk is also being held to address other issues, “including the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard as we remain committed to finding creative and constructive ways to address remaining regulatory concerns,” a spokesperson said.
The report notably claims that Smith is planning to meet with Microsoft’s legal representatives to discuss what it plans to do to respond to the CMA’s decision, the most “extreme” options being outright withdrawing Activision from the UK market, or ti simply bypass the ruling and continue with the deal. VGC noted how theoretically, moving Activision’s operation to somewhere in Europe outside of the CMA’s jurisdiction, it could continue to sell games in the UK via a distributor.
Microsoft has filed an appeal against the CMA, which is due to be heard at the end of July. With a deal of this magnitude, it’s not surprising that Microsoft will do anything it can to get it through, so who knows where it’ll go next.